The local Farmer’s Market is a weekly highlight, your garden harvest is coming in, and the veggie aisles at your local grocery store are overflowing with seasonal produce. What to do with all those peas, beans, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes? Not to mention the greens? Here are 5 gourmet salads turning up on this summer’s restaurant menus that are easy to make yourself.
1. Kale with Manchego Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
This nutrient-rich salad is turning up in restaurants such as Nordstrom’s Blue Stove and in cookbooks and magazines such as the Local Palate.
2. Classic Caprese Salad
What do you do when you’re drowning in vine-ripened tomatoes? Ask Rachel Ray or pretty much any other chef and she’ll tell you to make a Caprese salad. Translated as “salad of Capri,” this Mediterranean summer staple is a layered concoction of tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. You can also use Burrata cheese, as described in this Cooking Channel video.
3. Quinoa, Corn, and Avocado Salad
Thanks to its health benefits, the ancient grain known as quinoa has become a staple of deli salads everywhere. Most popular of all is the southwestern version, featuring corn and avocado, while this one from Epicurious freshens up the taste with mint. This health-conscious recipe from Kaiser Permanente calls for shrimp and asks to be served warm. Quinoa salad is very forgiving – you can add a host of seasonal vegetables such as cucumbers, bell peppers, and crunchy snap peas.
4. Fig and Blue Cheese Salad
5. Beets and Berries Salad
Endless variations on this recipe are turning up in farm-to-table restaurants all over the country. Here is The New York Times version, which features blackberries or blueberries on a bed of arugula, and another from Stono Market featuring strawberries. You can top this salad with pretty much any soft cheese, from goat to ricotta to feta and dress it with a balsamic or mustard dressing.